Saturday 17 May 2008

The Iron Man Who Fell To Earth

Inspired by Ted Hughes' 1968 novel The Iron Man, Brad Bird's 1999 science fiction animation, The Iron Giant is set in 1957 during the height of the Cold War. It tells the story of an amnesiac 50 foot robot who falls from space and is befriended by Hogarth, a lonely 9 year old boy raised by his single mother. Hogarth teams up with a beatnik named Dean to stop a paranoid government agent from finding and destroying the Giant.

Despite inexplicably failing at the box-office on its original release, The Iron Giant still looks great with its vivid and colourful blend of traditional and computer-generated animation. The film's director Brad Bird, was of course the mastermind behind Pixar's The Incredibles and his wit and meticulous attention to detail is in evidence thoughout the 83 minutes of the Iron Giant - from Hogarth's Schwinn bike to the Super Sabre jets who attack the robot. There are also numerous pop culture references to science fiction films and comic books of the era.

The Iron Giant himself is a classic 1950's mechanical 'bot, with some pretty awesome hidden hardware. His character is an amalgam of James Whales' Frankenstein monster from Bride.., King Kong and E.T. and immediately engages the audience's sympathy and affection.

The voice artists are inspired with Vin Diesel voicing the Iron Giant - I swear when he says "Superman" during the final act of the movie, you will be in floods of tears! The big metal guy is ably supported by Jennifer Aniston voicing Hogarth's mother and Harry Connick Junior lending his vocal cords to Dean the Beatnik.

Michael Kamen's moving symphonic score provides a perfect accompaniment to the lush animation and balances out the feast of fifties pop, rock 'n' roll and jazz that is liberally littered round the movie. Top tracks include, the Tyrones' rocking opener Blast Off and Mel Torme's cool Comin' Home Baby.

If you haven't seen it before, take time to watch the Iron Giant, but be sure to have a hankie handy for the lump in throat ending.


VonCheech said...

Thank You...

It took me a long time to figure out that there are actually links at this site.

Maybe you could make them a little less hidden...

Anonymous said...

On day after reading the original book I decided to give it away. It was very simplely drawn and no real value to this collector.
Afterwords at the movies I saw the coming attractions. Sorry I tossed it.
A wonderful film. Notice Robby The Robot poster in the Boys Room?
Yes the robot wanted to be good, like Superman. Everybody cried it was so emotional.
I use it as my secret weapon to those chic's who scoff at animation and at the end they Ball up a storm. Sneaky Vince

Crispy32 said...

Michael Kamen's beautiful score is now posted